I had a concert this afternoon; a showcase concert in which I was playing the piano. I hadn't particularly been looking forward to it, and while I was there all I was thinking about was the fact that I wanted to be at the Gracechurch Family Together service instead. The concert went well, but I just wasn't very interested in being there - in fact, I was becoming moodier by the minute.
But when we finally arrived at Gracechurch and walked in late, my mood improved almost instantly. I settled myself down by good friends and was soon laughing, chatting, dancing (?!), and goodness knows what else.
And it just makes me think. Because I personally find it so easy to think that I'm clearly lacking the joy which the Bible talks about, and which I know I should feel - I mean, Jesus has defeated death! What is there not to be joyful about?! - but today proved otherwise. Simply allowing the joy to express itself through laughter, conversation, worship and socialisation at Gracechurch today made me realise that the joy is always there in my heart - I just need to act upon it and not wallow in self-pity.
Of course, life has its ups and downs. We cannot constantly be happy (although I know a number of people who are fairly good at it!). There are going to be hard times for each and every one of us - we know that. And yet, even in the darkest hour, we can look back to the cross and see what Jesus did for us, and be filled with hope again and again, and be lifted out.
Today has been a mixture of emotions.
And tomorrow will be, too.
As will every day for the rest of my life.
But so long as I remember what he's done, the joy which God has given me will never die.